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Applying your Self-adhesive Vinyl - Wet Application Method

by Samantha Watson on October 13, 2020

So, you've prepped your surface, created, cut and weeded your beautiful design and applied your application tape, now comes the exciting part, applying your graphics!

This can be a little daunting at first, vinyl has a habit of sticking to everything before you even get it to where you need it and no doubt you will be finding little sticky letters in the strangest places for weeks to come.

There are many different techniques when applying vinyl and over time you will find the way that works best for you. In the meantime, whilst you're finding your feet, check out our handy guides to vinyl application below. We have a few easy to follow step by step instructions which will ensure a professional finish regardless of your application.

In this post you can find the following information:

Step By Step Vinyl Application - Wet Application Method

Tools for the job.

Scalpel, snitty or scissors

Surface cleaner and lint free cloth

Weeding tool, can be a hook, tweezers or simply long fingernails!

Application tape to transfer your shapes to the application surface.


Squeegee or scraper to smooth down the tape.

Spray bottle with application fluid and cloth.

Hairdryer, optional - may be useful to speed up drying before removing application tape.

This application method is ideal for transferring large graphics or applying sheets of vinyl and is especially good for window graphics.

Please check that your vinyl doesn't have an adhesive with an air egress feature such as ImagePerfect 'Perfect Apply' as these are not suitable for wet application.

If you are unsure simply peel away a small amount of the release liner and have a close look at the adhesive. If you can see a very fine cross-hatch pattern on the adhesive then you have the air release feature and will not need to wet apply.

If you are still not sure, run your fingers lightly over the inside of the release liner and if it has the air egress feature you will feel the texture.

If you have an economy vinyl with a water-based adhesive you may find this goes 'milky' on contact with water so may not be a good choice for decals applied to windows or glass where you can see the reverse side.

Step 1

Make sure that your application surface is perfectly clean.

Prepare a spray bottle with application fluid, we like ImagePerfect Magic Apply.

At a pinch you can use water with a drop of cheap washing-up liquid in, don’t use a good brand that keeps your hands soft as the softener in it will affect the adhesive bond.

Step 2

Spray a fine mist of application solution onto your application surface.

Step 3

Remove the release liner from your graphic slowly ensuring no shapes are left behind. If any start to lift, reapply the tape and add more pressure.

Mist the exposed sticky side of the vinyl and app tape, you want an even covering of tiny droplets but don’t flood the vinyl so that it drips everywhere!


Step 4

Turn the graphic over and apply the wet sticky side to the wet substrate, there should be enough fluid that you can float the vinyl around to position it correctly.

Step 5

Firmly squeegee from the centre outwards, to remove the surplus application fluid and any air bubbles.

Leave the graphic to dry for a while. If you need to speed up this part, apply gentle heat with a hairdryer.

Step 6

Once the application tape has dried (30-60 minutes, depending on temperature/humidity), slowly remove it by peeling the tape right back onto itself so that it leaves the shapes behind. If it is taking a while to dry and you can't wait, you could add gentle heat with a hair dryer.


Step 7

Squeegee the vinyl one more time to ensure good contact with the substrate, taking care to avoid scratching it.

If you are wet applying a large area to a cold surface, such as a decorative window film project, you may want to allow a longer drying time, maybe leave it overnight, before removing the application tape.


Where to use self-adhesive vinyl

Window Graphics



Vehicle Personalisation


Wall Graphics




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